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Heat free agency update: LeBron to meet with Riley; Rockets go hard after Chris Bosh

Jul 7, 2014, 12:45 AM EDT

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Miami is a free agent circus — not just some clowns and an elephant, more like an ensemble number from The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil. You can’t take it all in, it’s overwhelming and at times just ridiculous.

Using both personal sources and other reports, here are where things stand heading into Monday with the biggest free agent story of the summer — the goal here is to avoid speculation or gut feelings and just lay out the facts as I understand them.

LeBron James and his camp are not talking, according to league sources speaking to ProBasketballTalk. Everything people are saying about what LeBron is thinking is not coming from his real inner circle — they learned their lesson back in 2010 and are talking less than a Navy Seal team about to head out on a mission.

• LeBron is going to meet this week with Pat Riley to get an update on plans to fill out the Heat’s roster and discuss LeBron’s plans, something first reported by Sam Amick at the USA Today (and since confirmed by other reports).

LeBron James and his agent, Rich Paul, plan on meeting with Miami Heat president Pat Riley in person early this week, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Riley has had meetings with multiple available free agents — Luol Deng, Pau Gasol, Isaiah Thomas, Anthony Morrow, Martell Webster and others. However, until he has a firm salary number from “the big three” Riley cannot have firm numbers to give free agents.

• LeBron’s agent has taken meetings with a number of teams including the Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and others. Those were not meetings involving LeBron himself and participants said they were preliminary in nature.

The Cavaliers and other teams are working to clear cap space in event LeBron does decide to come.

• LeBron’s radio silence has made it uncomfortable for Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, who are considering their options… well, mostly Bosh because he has other good options. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports laid this out.

• About those other Bosh options, the Rockets expect that this week they will learn they did not land Carmelo Anthony and they are going to make a hard run at Bosh, reports Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

The Houston Rockets have ramped up their pursuit of Chris Bosh and are, in the words on one source, “heavily engaged” in trying to convince the All-Star power forward to leave the Miami Heat in free agency…

It is widely assumed throughout the league that Bosh will only be willing to leave Miami if James leaves first, after Bosh said numerous times during the season that he intended to stay with the Heat, even if it required taking a pay cut from last season’s $19 million salary. So Miami remains the favorite to sign him.

Frankly, I think Bosh is a better fit for the Rockets than Anthony.

• Bosh has said on multiple occasions he is very happy in Miami and doesn’t want to leave, but that was always under the assumption that LeBron James would stay. Bosh was the most vocal of the big three about the group staying together.

• It is assumed Wade will remain with Miami regardless of the outcome of anything else.

  1. coltzfan166 - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:51 AM

    It seems like the Rockets want Bosh more than LeBron

  2. cantonb0und13 - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:54 AM

    James – Miami
    Melo – Miami
    Bosh – Houston
    Wade – Miami
    Gasol – Oklahoma City
    Bledsoe – Phoenix

    I don’t know… I’m just speculating, same thing as all these “insiders”

    • cantonb0und13 - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:56 AM

      On the serious note, I still give the Knicks 60% chance of keeping Melo. The rest I don’t know, so much speculation…

    • rohlo - Jul 7, 2014 at 2:35 AM

      melo- ny ,chicago or LALakers
      gasol – goes wherever melo goes,or maybe chicago
      bledsoe- milwaukee
      lebron-miami,LALakers(if melo goes back to ny),houston,chicago
      bosh-miami (if lebron stays)or houston
      love-traded to -boston,houston,golden state,LALakers
      rondo- gets traded to houston if the celtics dont get love!

      cant really pinpoint anything as we have to wait for the melo and lebron chips to fall first..i just put al lthe names out there..crazy how its all mostly the same teams except warriors and milwaukee in seperatedeals for one player…. lakers,rockets,bulls,heat most mentioned teams this free agency!! big money teams!

  3. lakerade - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:14 AM

    Bron to Cavs.
    Melo stays.
    Bosh to Rockets.
    Lance to Lakers.
    Pau stays.
    Deng stays?
    Love gets antsier.

    • jeffkx - Jul 7, 2014 at 8:36 AM

      Not sure about the Deng part. He seemed miserable here in Cleveland. But if LeBron does come back I could see it..

  4. kb2408 - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:35 AM

    If Bosh stays in Miami the only thing he will accomplish is to grow old with LeBron and Wade…because at the salaries those 3 are asking for Miami will not be able to upgrade enough to win another title. The Heat have tried plugging average players into prominent roles and they succeeded with it to the tune of two titles. However, Miami’s “Big 3” is not nearly is formidable as they were when they joined together. Thus, plugging in average players won’t cut it anymore. Other teams are getting better…Miami is regressing.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 7, 2014 at 6:59 AM

      Things haven’t changed when it comes to LeBron. If he’s on your team, you are a contender. If he’s on your team, your team is formidable. That applies to Miami as much as it applies to anyone else.

      If Miami re-signs LeBron, Wade and Bosh they will have signed 3 of the top 10 free agents on the market. Just signing LeBron and Bosh means the Heat will lock up 2 of the top 5 free agents. Most teams right now – even yours – are having wet dreams about doing exactly that. And that’s more than enough for James to get a team back to the finals. Now, to win it they will need a lot of things to fall their way, but they don’t need more stars in free agency – they just need pieces that are a little younger, that fit a little better, and they don’t have to be expensive.

      And I’m not as down on Wade as his critics are. His decline is being greatly exaggerated.

      • mickdamill - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:19 PM

        Fans on teams other than the Heat are having wet dreams because this dream is becoming a reality for them. The Heat being dominated in the Finals was the extra breath these teams needed for a possibility of landing LBJ.

        Miami has no depth and with the “Big 3”, there may not be enough quality players to create depth in this years FA that would willing to take pay cuts. Correct me if I’m wrong but Haslem, Cole, Andersen and Hamilton are the Heats only returning players. That is not much of a much incentive for Lebron to return, a child could see that. There are several teams which already have a star on their team or enough cap space to sign Lebron and another fantastic FA. Most of the teams making an attempt at Lebron already have a competitive roster.

        I’m sure Riley has some tricks up his sleeve to retain LBJ, I’m certain of that but for you to claim no other team stands a chance is ignorant. Houston is looking nice, they have Harden who is clearly better than Wade now and Dwight Howard which is a fantastic replacement for Bosh and also no state taxes out of your check in TX. Phoenix is a nice destination as well, they have a couple of high scoring guards, a very deep roster and enough money to sign another big contract in addition to LBJ. I’m not writing off CLE either.

        Also, people are basing Wade’s decline off his most current season.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:47 PM

        When did I say no other team stands a chance? Where did you read that?

        I think LeBron could very well end up in Cleveland.

        My point is that if he does stay in Miami, then Miami will again be formidable contenders. That goes for any team LeBron ends up on.

        And Wade’s most current season was pretty good – he did a few things a SG over 30 has never done before and his FG percentage was an insanely great .545 (not to mention a career high). The last time a shooting guard over the age of 30 shot such a high percentage in the three point era was never. His jumper accuracy was also a career high .449. He put up a very solid 22.0 PER, which was 18th in the league, 5th among all guards, and 2nd among shooting guards. His 22.0 PER would’ve led a team like the Spurs, btw. So I don’t know what you were watching, but Wade had a good season.

    • gofinsgoheatfloria - Jul 7, 2014 at 7:41 AM

      There are only three NBA teams that are fielding squads in both summer leagues this year. Miami is one. That should seem strange for a team that supposedly just recycles old guys, and indeed it would be. A closer look may help. While the Heat were plugging average players into prominent roles and succeeding with it to the tune of two titles, they were stashing their 2012 and 2013 draft acquisitions overseas for development. Those guys are back, and doing well so far. The communication between Napier and Justin Hamilton (’12) last night was impressive, and James Ennis (’13) is looking more and more like a drop-in replacement for the retired Shane Battier. (If you think I’m hyping a bit, you should have heard the NBA-TV guys last night.) And those two stashes were second-rounders, so the Heat must have somebody pretty good handling their draft operations.

      Believe that the Heat strategy now consists entirely of freeing cap space and signing reclamation projects if you must, but it is just not true.

      • spursareold - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:53 AM




  5. tampajoey - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:36 AM

    Chris Broussard (espn)

    “Cleveland has replaced Miami as my frontrunner to land LeBron James…”

    • rohlo - Jul 7, 2014 at 2:39 AM

      broussard …. lmao guys garbage! wheres your link????

      • antistratfordian - Jul 7, 2014 at 7:03 AM

        Broussard was the guy who first called LeBron to Miami tho.

        Chris Broussard ‏@Chris_Broussard 9h
        Cleveland has replaced Miami as my frontrunner to land LeBron James…

        Chris Broussard ‏@Chris_Broussard 8h
        I’m not saying LJ to Cavs is done deal or I know 4 a fact; just my gut feeling based on many conversations I’ve had around this story…

        Chris Broussard ‏@Chris_Broussard 8h
        These convos aren’t sourced enough 4 me to report as fact. But I’ve heard enough to believe “the wind is blowing” LJ back home. We’ll see…

  6. campcouch - Jul 7, 2014 at 2:34 AM

    I won’t eat all of my Pringles waiting. Wherever they sign they’ll make more than me in a year than I would in 100.

  7. pistolpete0903 - Jul 7, 2014 at 2:44 AM

    Its too speculative now; some team (or player) has to make a move. That should set a domino effect for other teams to make an offer.

    The key player, as per my opinion, is going to be Bosh. Don’t know how long he waits for LBJ to make a decision. If he goes to the Rockets (very likely he does), we have the wheels set in motion. Another key person is Wade since he is owed a lot of money (hindsight is 20-20, but what would the Heat have done to save their amnesty option for Wade rather than Mike Miller!!!). If he takes a Ginobili type role (and money), the Heat have a good chance of retaining the big 3.
    Not an LBJ fan by any stretch, but the guy flat-out deserves the max contract. If the other players don’t take a pay-cut, the onus is on Arrison to foot the penalty and make sure he is re-signed.

    Should be an interesting free agency.

    • bkbell3 - Jul 7, 2014 at 5:51 AM

      pistolpete, You do know that wade,bosh and lbj oped out of their contracts and are free agents and owed nothing by miami?

      • pistolpete0903 - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:20 AM

        Damn….I have been a bit slow following the league. They all became FA over a week ago.
        A likely scenario here is LBJ gets a max, Bosh ends slightly less than max. The onus is on Wade to take a huge pay-cut (doubt if he does it; but then barring the Bulls I don’t see any club throwing big money at him).

      • bkbell3 - Jul 7, 2014 at 2:22 PM

        Yea pistol, i wasn’t sure what you meant because you said another key person is wade since he is OWED a lot of money so i wasn’t sure.

    • jeffkx - Jul 7, 2014 at 7:00 AM

      LeBron’s gone man..jesus people..announcement this afternoon..

  8. leogatlin - Jul 7, 2014 at 3:03 AM

    Bosh would be crazy to take less money than he is worth just so Lebron can get his money..

    • 1historian - Jul 7, 2014 at 7:28 AM

      agreed. He’s got his rings, now he wants his money – BIG money. Now or never.

    • cwilson6843 - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:07 PM

      So would LeBron be crazy to take less money for bosh to get paid? LeBron is the best player on the hardwood right now. This whole thing falls in arisons lap. The big 3 took a hit in the pockets to come to Miami. Its time for arison to take a hit to keep them there

  9. money2long - Jul 7, 2014 at 3:43 AM

    Stage direction : anti bites nails nervously.

    • limonadamas - Jul 7, 2014 at 4:55 PM

      Nah… he’ll be slurping wherever Lebron ends up at, even if it’s the Lakers.

  10. saint1997 - Jul 7, 2014 at 4:58 AM

    This whole FA period is so inactive – it seems there are about 10 trades and signings ready to go, but they’re just waiting for the someone to make the first move. There’ll be pandemonium soon, but for now it’s the calm before the storm

  11. ravenswhat - Jul 7, 2014 at 7:11 AM

    I am seeing HEAVY buzz these last few days that Lebron is zeroing in on a Cavs return. Seems to be a lot of smoke right now.

  12. fishfiletkray - Jul 7, 2014 at 7:42 AM

    Looks like Cleveland will have their hearts broken yet again.

  13. loungefly74 - Jul 7, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    …still thinking all 3 stay. why would they leave? 4 Finals in a row is tremendous…they have the ability to go to a few more in a row with their core pieces. unless Bosh feels he needs to be “handed the keys” to another franchise and take the money (which he has already done in Toronto)…he is staying with his amigos.

    i got to hand it to the big 3 for potentially taking less money again. those guy have figured out more wiggle room in the cap means greater chance at success. other players in their prime need to do this (K. Love, Melo, etc…) Kobe should have done the “Duncan discount” though the Lakers gladly paid him so i dont blame the guy but it makes it that much harder for them.

    Look for the Heat to own the East for another 3 years…

    • mickdamill - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:38 PM

      Owning the East is still owning the East.

  14. gatorfan1 - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    No no you’re right – This is a circus with clowns & an elephant!!!

  15. honkerdawg - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    Doesn’t matter where these clowns go, the simple truth is, they don’t stay together in some form none of them sees another ring again

    • spursareold - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:33 AM

      That’s true for Wade and Bosh, but LeBron makes almost any team he goes to a ring contender, and will for the next 3-4 years.

  16. kingballer99 - Jul 7, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    Wow, your reward for taking a pay cut and bringing two trophies to a franchise is, another paycut. It’s one thing if all three take it…
    This is bosh’s last chance at a max contract and he takes a paycut to help lbj get another trophy? Horrible agent.
    Wade leaves 40 mil over two years so he can now make about the same over four years? Same horrible agent.
    They already have their trophies, consider the mission a success and move on.

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